I’ve been making political cartoons and producing general illustrations for around 3 years. The drawing process is forever challenging. But for all the difficulties, there is one stand out lesson that I’ve learnt: you cannot be consumed by the difficulty of the moment – you need to stand back and look at the process from a distance and see art and drawing as a journey.
I took a lot of comfort and reassurance when I compared the two pieces I had done in the image above of Northern Ireland Justice Minister and leader of the Alliance Party, David Ford. The cartoon on the left was done in April 2012, while the one on the right was produced in October 2012.
When put side by side, compared and contrasted, I could see a huge difference and most importantly: a huge improvement. The one on the left is pretty clumsy and crude; while on the right, my piece looks more mature, rounded and sophisticated.
Doing political cartoons is incredibly challenging. Plain and simple. Whether or not I have the ability to make it as a leading political cartoonist I don’t know. But what I do know is that one cannot get caught up in the immediate challenge that drawing poses. Aspiring artists need to persevere and drive through the pain barrier. By taking a long view and seeing drawing as a journey you can over leap the challenge posed in the immediate term.
In the images below I have included the work of some of Britain’s leading political cartoonists. I’ve done it in a way to show how their work has developed. In the first pieces their interpretations are, like mine, clumsy and crude; but with the passage of time, their standard of work improves measurably.
The Guardian recently picked up on the evolution of Steve Bell‘s work.
Martin Rowson produced a guide to drawing Prime Minister, David Cameron.